On the way to your brother's house in the valley, dear,
By the river bridge a cradle floating beside me
In the whitest water on the banks against the stone.
You will lift his body from the shore and bring him home.

Oliver James washed in the rain no longer.
Oliver James washed in the rain no longer.

On the kitchen table that your grandfather did make,
You in your delicate way will slowly clean his face.
And you will remember when you rehearse the actions of
An innocent and anxious mother full of anxious love.

Oliver James washed in the rain no longer.
Oliver James washed in the rain no longer.

Walk with me down Ruby beach and through the valley floor.
Love for the one you know more.
Love for the one you know more.

Back we go to your brother's house, emptier my dear,
The sound of ancient voices ringing soft upon your ear.

Oliver James washed in the rain no longer.
Oliver James washed in the rain no longer.


Lyrics submitted by chickenflicker, edited by tobiasiv, dianaodd, Eebster


Oliver James song meanings
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21 Comments

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  • +2
    General Commentthis song is about a couple who have never had a baby before who find a baby in the river. the husband is watching the wife while she cleans the babies face so beautifully. then they go for a walk on the beach to find peace about the situation. they go back to her brothers house emptier (without their worries) and feeling calmer.

    oliver james is the name of the baby.
    guest33on December 09, 2010   Link
  • +1
    My InterpretationThis song is clearly about two lovers who come upon a drowning child and save it: "Oliver James washed in the rain no longer." One of the lovers in their "delicate way will slowly clean his face," acting like an "innocent and anxious mother, full of anxious love." This lover takes the maternal role in the young child, Oliver James', life. Jealous of the attention newly found child, Oliver James, is getting; the other lover begs his or her lover to walk them "down Ruby beach and through the valley floor," and to "the one you know more." The song concludes with the couple heading forward "emptier my dear," and the maternal lover hearing "the sound of ancient voices ringing soft upon your ear." Perhaps feeling a bit of regret/guilt/fear? I think so.

    I think this song is really beautiful and I listen to it a lot. I think it's probably an analogy for something that's really open to the listener's interpretation and what perspective they take on the song. It's a really direct yet versatile, as far as the mood it can provoke is concerned.

    GREAT SONG.
    lazyactivist124on August 09, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General Commentyou in your delicate way will slowly clean his face
    walk with me down through the beach(maybe)
    emptier my dear

    good job otherwise

    i really dont know that mine are right but you didnt have a guess and they sound right to me
    tumultbeingon April 06, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General Comment... walk with me down Ruby beach?
    It's a famous remote coastal beach in Washington state.
    Sad song and hauntingly beautiful. At first I thought it was just about disappointment, but it's clearly about a drowning, having peered into the lyrics.
    Great band!
    gadzooxon April 20, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentWell, if Ruby Beach is in Washington, it would fit. These guys are from Seattle, right?

    I think this song changed my life, it's so, so, so good.
    Spongetasticon July 09, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentHaha, two posts on one song.

    The Guardian said this song's about a child drowning. I guess it's make sense.
    Spongetasticon August 06, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song has made me cry.
    mithgilon February 09, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIt's definitely "clean his face," not his faith.

    And this song does seem to be about a child drowning. When, looked at with that interpretation it's pretty sad and dark. I think he's the father trying to console the mother in the "Walk with me..." part saying, "love for the one you know more." Maybe a strange way of saying, "At least we still have each other," and she knows him more. But, they are still "emptier."
    ToWhateverEndon February 17, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General Commentgorgeous. I love fleet foxes, love this song.
    bestwombat11on February 27, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIt's also about a woman recognizing her natural desires to be a mother through a chance encounter with a child.
    swtmston November 30, 2009   Link

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